Ever since I started raiding the breath freshener (and carminative) trays at Indian restaurants, I’ve been curious about cardamom. Whereas my usual reason for diving into those trays was for the candy-coated fennel seeds, the inimitable aggressive and unique flavor of cardamom always stood out. When else could I find the expensive pods in my food? Atop biryanis, in milk and as a seasoning for teas.
And in Antigua, Guatemala, in chocolate:
Prior to World War I, German coffee farmer Oscar Majus Kloeffer introduced cardamom to the fertile soil of Alta Verapáz. Guatemala is currently the world’s largest exporter of cardamom, though hardly uses it on the domestic front, save for adding it to bars of local chocolate much to the amusement of self-declared travel/food bloggers. Most of it is shipped to the Middle East and India, the latter of which frequently expressing sour grapes over one of its native crops.
If you’re curious about the history of cardamom – a distant relative of my favorite root, ginger – visit the Western Ghats of India to discover its origin.
Are you a fan of cardamom? Have you ever been to Guatemala?